Local law enforcement agencies ramped up presence at Bulloch County schools Friday due to a statewide alert regarding unsubstantiated threats.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency sent a memo to public safety leaders across the state after social media rumors went viral, spawned from alleged posts by an off shoot of the South Carolina-based group “Black Lives Matter,” said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.
After receiving several calls from concerned parents, Bulloch County Board of Education representatives contacted Wynn, who in turn reached out to area law enforcement agencies in recommending increased presence at area schools, said Bulloch County BOE spokesperson Hayley Greene.
“There was no credible threat,” Wynn said.
Both he and Greene said the local rumors were spawned from social media reports that there would be widespread violence across the state.
According to Internet news source http://guardianlv.com. , threats from a radical “splinter group” that formed from Black Lives Matter “have threatened violence on Sept. 11 through videos and blog posts calling for an ‘open season on killing cops and white people.’”
These Internet rumors grew and took on a localized slant, causing parents concern, Greene said.
There were no specific threats at any of Bulloch County’s schools, but extra patrols were dispatched just in case, she said.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Portal Police Chief Jason Sapp. He and the town’s other two officers joined Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies throughout the day at Portal Middle/High School.
Wynn said extra patrol was already planned for the day, as part of national awareness of the 9/11 tragedy in 2001 and the possibility of another attack on the anniversary of the incident. Law enforcement in all Bulloch towns with high schools – Statesboro, Portal and Brooklet – had increased patrols, along with sheriff’s deputies, simply visiting the schools, doing “walk-throughs” and checks similar to their normal, routine school visits, he said.
“We visit the schools every day,” said Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson.
So do Statesboro Police, said Cpl. Justin Samples, who said officers simply increased presence in Statesboro schools Friday.
Brooklet Police Chief Max Meyers was not immediately available Friday, but Wynn said Brooklet Police also stepped up patrols at Southeast Bulloch High and other area schools.
There were no reported incidents of violence at the schools Friday, and the rumors never specifically targeted Bulloch County, Greene said.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.